Open Educational Resources

Tim Tirrell, PhD, MERLOT
Educational Technology Organization of Michigan (ETOM) Higgins Lake Retreat

There are a variety of “Open” Doors

  • Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • OpenCourseWare (e.g. MITOpenCourseware)
  • Open Textbooks

Roadblocks to using Open Educational Resources (from the ITC 2012 Survey)

  • Longevity – will it be around for a while?
  • Resources are too time consuming to find
  • Concerns about Quality
  • Importing is too Complex
  • Faculty are unaware (This is the #1 resource.)

The ETOM group identified concerns about quality and too time-consuming to find as their top reasons for not using OER.

Tablet Sales

  • 118 million tablets in 2012
  • Over 180 million in 2013

The ETOM group voted that the top reason for using OER is the changing demographic of  students. 

Open Textbooks

  • There are over 2,000 free online textbooks
  • What textbooks are already available in our college library?
  • What about using faculty-authored materials?

Nationally, 7 of 10 students report not buying at least 1 required textbook because of the cost.

79% of all students say they would do “worse/much worse” in their course without their own text.

*Free Resource: –

Screenshot of the Open Education Resource padlet

What is an OER?


  • Access is free – no cost!
  • “Liberally Licensed” – free from restrictions

Technical Standards:

  • Open File Formats
  • Open Licensing
  • Open Source Software
  • Metadata Standards

Be careful! Just because its free, does not mean its OER!

OER Organizations/Resources (

  • Connexions
  • OER Commons (24K materials)
  • NSDL
  • MIT Open Courseware
  • Orange Grove

Exercise: Find a resource from the list on – I searched for Instructional Design and found this Curriculum Design and Educational Technology course on Connexions.

Creative Commons Licensing – “Some rights reserved” – see the licenses page on the creative commons wiki.

Issues and Challenges to using OER:

  • Overwhelming
  • Quality Assurance
  • Sustainability
  • Accessibility
  • Technical Standards
  • Evidence of learning effectiveness

Curious about accessibility in all of this? Visit the OER-Access webpage.

Links for more information:


One thought on “Open Educational Resources

  1. Pingback: Weekly Reports – June 12 and June 19 | Distance Learning & Instructional Technologies

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